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Plane truth gets harder to believe

The auctioneer of Air Sahara Boeing 737 had dismantled the aircraft and sold off the fuselage to a flight-training academy. However, the enormous trailer with the plane has been lying in Chembur since Sunday, seemingly stuck.

business Updated: May 04, 2007 12:03 IST

The curious case of the plane parked in Chembur just got curiouser.

HT had reported how the auctioneer of the Air Sahara Boeing 737 – a US based agency AJ Walter had dismantled the aircraft and sold off the fuselage to an unidentified flight-training academy, about 100 km from Mumbai, where it would serve as a training ground for aspiring stewards and airhostesses (Bruised Boeing leaves city for last time, HT, April 27).

The enormous trailer with the plane has been lying on WT Patil Marg in Chembur since Sunday morning, seemingly stuck.

Now, in a new twist, a city-based industrialist, Manpreet Singh Vijan, claimed on Thursday that he was negotiating a deal with a broker, Vinod Kumar, to, hold your breath, buy the aircraft.

Interestingly, the fuselage has been lying just outside Manjeet Motors – an automobile workshop owned by Singh.

Vijan refused to disclose further information about Kumar. “All I can say is that negotiations are on. If the deal gets finalised, I will buy the aircraft. I am looking forward to refurbish the fuselage into a children’s play station that will be stationed in an amusement theme park. At present, the aircraft has been brought here for repairs.”

Singh runs a family business of twelve automobile dealerships across the country.

Meanwhile, residents are in awe of the giant visitor awkwardly stranded on the ground.

It has over-shadowed shops along the street and caused a serious traffic jam on the road since five days. It has even partially obstructed the entrance of a parking area for trucks and troubled autorickshaws drivers.

“The number of customers has decreased during the past few days,” said Sanjay Rathore, whose hardware shop is almost invisible due to the plane.

Mangesh Patil, a local auto-rickshaw driver said the plane lay where auto-rickshaws generally queued up for refilling CNG. “It is causing a lot of trouble, as we have to meander around the plane to form the queue. This blocks the traffic on the road.”

However, Harish Baijal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (traffic) suburbs, said, the trailer was parked in an area without any parking restrictions. “But we have booked the driver for obstructing free flow of traffic under the Mumbai Police Act and the Motor Vehicles Act.”